NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Berman To Give NIAAA’s Mendelson Lecture, May 25

Dr. Marlene Oscar Berman
Dr. Marlene Oscar Berman

Dr. Marlene Oscar Berman will deliver the 2016 Jack Mendelson Honorary Lecture on Wednesday, May 25 at 1:30 p.m. in Lipsett Amphitheater, Bldg. 10. Her talk will be on “Brain Mechanisms Underlying the Perceptual, Emotional and Cognitive Impairments Associated with Chronic Alcohol Use Disorder.”  

Berman is professor of neurology, psychiatry and anatomy & neurobiology and director of the Laboratory of Neuropsychology at Boston University School of Medicine, as well as a career research scientist in the Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in Boston. 

Through her more than 40 years as a researcher and educator, Berman has advanced our understanding of the brain mechanisms underlying the perceptual, emotional and cognitive impairments associated with chronic alcohol use disorder (AUD). Her research addresses abnormalities in brain circuits controlling emotional perception and regulation and the impact of brain damage on the course of AUD development. One of her many seminal contributions was to characterize the syndrome of severe amnesia for events occurring after the onset of extensive brain damage produced by alcoholism, known as Korsakoff’s syndrome. 

Currently, Berman uses neurobehavioral tests and neuroimaging measures of brain structure and function to assess how emotional dysregulation may underlie addiction problems like AUD. She also explores how AUD-related abnormalities in the brain circuits that control emotional perception and regulation may differ for men and women. These differences can directly affect how people make economic, social and health-related decisions, such as whether to continue to drink.

Berman has published some 250 peer-reviewed manuscripts, invited reviews and book chapters. She also has mentored more than 60 graduate students, postdocs and students on their way to medical or graduate school.

She received her doctorate in psychology from the University of Connecticut and her master’s degree in psychology from Bryn Mawr College. Her permanent teaching and research home since 1970 has been Boston University School of Medicine.

Berman has received many honors and awards, including the 2004 Massachusetts Neuropsychological Society Lifetime Achievement Award; a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award in 1991; the 2011 Henri Begleiter Excellence in Research Award from the Research Society on Alcoholism; and the 2012 Distinguished Career Award from the International Neuropsychological Society. Berman received a Senior Scientist Research and Mentorship Award for 2007-2015 from NIH.

NIAAA established the lecture series as a tribute to Dr. Jack Mendelson, who made remarkable contributions to the field of clinical alcohol research. Each spring, the series features a lecture by an outstanding alcohol investigator whose clinical research makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of alcohol susceptibility, alcohol’s effects on the brain and other organs and the prevention and treatment of alcohol use disorder.  

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

Published 25 times each year, it comes out on payday Fridays.

Assistant Editor: Eric Bock (link sends e-mail)

Staff Writer: Amber Snyder (link sends e-mail)